Economics has been called the “dismal science” by many people for many reasons. Personally, I’d like to think that it’s because, when employed properly, it reveals the aspects of human behavior very few people want exposed. One of the fundamental and simple principles of economics is that scarce goods are more highly valued and plentiful ones are less valued, and certainly human history continually shows that.
In fact, in that vein, if one applies basic economic principles to religion, the inescapable conclusion is that the wealthy and the privileged benefit disproportionately from religions and cultures that encourage the less fortunate to have lots of offspring.
Am I crazy in saying that? Or anti-religion? Hardly. It’s just the dismal science revealing what too many religions won’t or can’t admit. A few lessons from history might be instructive. After the Black Death ravaged Europe in the 14th century, killing well over a third of the population and possibly as much as sixty percent in some areas, a strange thing happened. Over the following centuries, life got a whole lot better for the working classes. Why? Because there was a shortage of labor, and even laborers became better paid. The higher cost of labor eventually led to the development of more innovations that were labor-saving and resulted in higher productivity and less brute manual work.
While China also suffered from the Black Death, the majority of the deaths were in the west of China, in the area dominated by the Mongols, as well as across the steppes, where in some areas as much as seventy percent of the population perished. This led to the collapse of Mongol rule, and the return to more traditional Chinese social and class structures… and continued reliance on a great deal of low-paid labor, of which there continued to be a great numbers… and no real incentive for the upper classes to build on the innovations that China developed centuries before the west, such as blast furnaces, gun-powder, and ocean trading.
Why did so many immigrants flee Europe for the United States? The ostensible and often-given answer is “for a better life.” But behind that answer lies economics – the fact that there was a shortage of labor in the United States, enough of a shortage that even unskilled workers could do better here than elsewhere.
Areas with high birthrates generally have lower living standards and an aristocracy of sorts that continues to live well and pay labor poorly. They’re generally also areas where women have fewer real rights and opportunities. There may be exceptions, but they’re very few and don’t last long. In such lands, the poor need to have large families just to survive, and the great numbers of the poor insure that wages for the poor remain low. With low wages, education is hard to come by, and that means only a small percentage of the poor ever rises above poverty. It also means that there are plenty of cheap servants, and most services are inexpensive.
When anyone talks about “right-to-life,” they’re really talking about a very selective “right.” They’re talking about the right to be born. The problem here is that these people’s “right-to-life” doesn’t extend to the right to live a decent life, and the higher the birth rate in any area, the more depressed wages tend to be and the fewer opportunities available to women.
So the “sacred” right-to-life really means that whatever divine being is behind it essentially supports misery and oppression. That’s sacred?